JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel has approved construction of more than 100 homes in the West Bank settlement of Shilo, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Monday, a move likely to bring fresh international condemnation. Peace Now official Hagit Ofran said that the approval came to light after the group petitioned Israel's Supreme Court in March to halt construction of an initial 50 housing units, prompting the court to request a government response. "In reply... the defence ministry informed us that it had last month approved a plan to build 119 housing units, including the 50 already under construction " she told AFP. An unrelated government decision last month to speed up settlement building in response to Palestine joining UNESCO brought harsh criticism from Washington, the United Nations and European Union. Ofran said the latest spurt of building in Shilo, in the northern West Bank, started a year ago, initially without the necessary government permits. Jordan's King Abdullah II told visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday that Israel's settlement building on Palestinian land posed a "serious obstacle" to peace efforts, the palace said. "Israel must stop unilateral measures, particularly settlement building which is a serious obstacle to peace efforts," the king told Peres, who was in Amman on a brief and previously unannounced visit. The king and Peres, whose countries signed a 1994 peace treaty, discussed the "means to revive Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations and remove obstacles facing them in line with a two-state solution," the palace added.